Walk With God: 5 Ways to Partner with Gods Plans

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us [Luke 1:1]

Every now and then I take a moment to look at how far I have come. Not to boast in my own efforts, but to recognise and acknowledge how far God has brought me. On the other side of where I used to be, God & I have come a long way. On the journey He has done some incredible things, some of which I haven’t even noticed. Yet His plan for my life is taking shape and when reflected upon, it is truly amazing.

There are lots of things I have learned about being a better partner in the plans and purposes God has for me. I have discovered all of them throughout the Bible too.

In Luke 1, the writer comments how he wants to make an orderly eyewitness account of those things which were fulfilled. Even in this chapter we see people demonstrating 5 simple truths about the unfolding of Gods plans for our lives…

Be willing to hear Gods voice. 
Especially if what you are hearing may not make sense to you. Look at Zechariah coming out of the temple, dumbstruck by what God has said to him.

Be willing to obey those words.
Especially as others may just think you are crazy or talking plain nonsense. Mary is amazing. ‘Let it be to me according to Your word’.

Be willing to embrace the impossibilities of God.
Especially when you can’t work out how God could even make it happen. From barren to parenthood. From young woman to mother of the Saviour of the world. Nothing is impossible with God.

Be willing to see what God is doing through me.
When you hold the promise or see what He has said could happen, has happened. As Mary proclaims, ‘For He who is mighty has done great things through me’.

Be willing to magnify Him for all He has done.
If only because God deserves all the praise. Rejoice in His plans being accomplished.

Remember that God wants us to get where He wants us to go, more than we want to get to where God wants us. So let’s be willing to embrace the adventure and enjoy the journey has those plans for our own lives unfold.

Walk With God: 7 Words to Help You Discover True Rest

Rest is not about doing nothing.

When the Israelites were instructed by God to take a Sabbath year for the land every seven years, it didn’t mean a year off, becoming lazy and just sitting with their feet up.

They were aligning themselves with a God-created rhythm which would bring blessing into their lives. As they rested the soil it would gain strength and ensure its future fruitfulness. In the meantime they would continue to build their home, look after their flocks, care for each other and take some intentional time to draw close to God.

For us then to rest has to work the same way. It is a rhythm of grace we are invited to walk and work with Jesus. It is a true rest which brings blessing to our lives.

As we rest our souls we gain strength and ensure our future fruitfulness.

As I withdraw from the day to draw close to God I have found these words helpful.

PAUSE: We can be so busy doing that the hardest thing to do to withdraw is to actually stop and make time just to be with God. We have to remember that however driven we may our true identity is never found in what we have accomplished but found only in knowing whose we are.

THINK: Meditate on God, thank Him for the journey so far. Like the Israelites were being reminded about their past, we were once slaves to sin but now we have been set free. Think about all the good things God has done for and thank Him for them all.

REFLECT: Take a scripture, read your word, worship and reflect on what God is doing  and saying right now in your life. Don’t over think it but all the Word of God to speak to you.

LISTEN: This goes with the reflect. Having tuned out the noise and removed the distractions, we will be better able to hear what God is saying. We can be very quick to bring all our requests to God, yet make no time simply to listen and hear His voice.

CAPTURE: When you hear something, feel something, see something, then capture it. I use a notebook on my phone and the Evernote app for noting down particular scriptures and thoughts that go with them.

RESPOND: We have to be willing to be obedient to what God is saying to us. Through obedience is where the blessing comes. That was key for the Israelites and the rhythm of the Sabbath. In keeping it, God would bless them, prosper them and provide for them.

TRUST: Ultimately, acting on the word of God requires faith, which is simply us choosing to trust God is more than able to do what He has said He will do. Having paused, taken time to think on God, reflect on all He has done in our lives so far, listened to His voice, captured what He is saying and then responded, trusting Him should begin to come much more easily.

What do you think? How might this help you when taking time to truly rest with God?

Walk With God: Don’t Be a Jonah

I think it comes naturally to be a Jonah. To run from the call of God rather than towards it. To disagree with what we are being asked to do. To dare to believe we know better.

You cannot outrun God. You cannot outrun the call of God. 

Haven’t we all been there, wondering how we ended up where we did. We should have gone in one direction but we chose another. We find ourselves in a dead end or  simply in the wrong place and in trouble.

That’s Jonah.

So, let’s not do a Jonah.

He found himself inside a giant fish.

He never needed to wonder how he got there, he knew.

It’s a rough moment for Jonah. A 3-day rough moment until the fish threw him up but God has a myriad of ways to capture our attention. And more importantly, a second chance to be obedient.

Lesson learned, you would think.

Jonah continues to be frustrated by the way God behaves. God doesn’t do what we would do. Where we would call for judgement and punishment, God provides love and forgiveness. In our way of thinking this is not fair yet to God, it’s the perfect illustration of fairness.

We want fairness to be toward us but then to determine whether it should be given elsewhere. That is not fair.

God’s long arms of abounding love and slow anger is completely fair. Everyone can receive it, especially those who respond to the call to repent, who turn their heart back to God. It doesn’t seem fair but it is, and I am a thankful recipient of it.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He said He would do to them, and He did not do it [Jonah 3:10]

So, let’s not be a Jonah. Instead let’s be more God-like in our working out of fairness in the way He deems things to be fair.

Maybe we should check our hearts today. Is there something God asked to do which we have our done best to ignore, turn away or even run from. Repent, then go for it and get back on the job for God.

 

Learning to Let Go

Just continuing with my thoughts about what it may take to build a strong relationship with God. Relationships experience many tests of which I am choosing to focus on three – the Divine Test, the Sacrifice Test and the Test of Time.

This is my definition of the sacrifice test: it’s about a willingness to let go of that which is most precious to us. The dictionary says that sacrifice is an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

I am learning as I choose to walk with God that it is a difficult test to pass. This is why. I don’t want to give stuff up. I like, enjoy and value it. Maybe it cost me financially or time wise. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense naturally so I just choose to ignore what God is saying. Instead of sacrifice I hold on even more tightly to what I have. However, here’s what I know…

Compromise is not enough.
Giving a little is not enough. 
Bartering with God is not enough.

Reading about Abraham in Genesis and watching him experience this test it always seems somewhat extreme. Surely God didn’t really mean it? Why would he ask someone to lay down his son? The son God promised him? Why be asked to do something that can only be described as the ultimate sacrifice?

Here’s how he passed. Faith. Trust. Knowing God as divine, as provident, as a keeper of His promises. And he didn’t even have the example of Jesus like we do.

God gave. So we give.

God’s love for us was a sacrificial love. Our love therefore should be sacrificial. 

My willingness to sacrifice demonstrates my faith in God.
My willingness to sacrifice evidences my obedience to God.
My willingness to sacrifice aligns me with Gods willingness to sacrifice.
My willingness to sacrifice shows I am happy for my relationship with God to cost something.

No guarantee it won’t be challenging by every guarantee we will be rewarded. Faith pleases God. Obedience pleases God. There is always a cost. God has played His part. We just have to be ready to play ours.

What do we hold too tightly?
Why do we find being obedient in this area of our walk with God so difficult?